Honeymoon in Hell
It was supposed to be the time of their young lives for the newlywed couple - living a Caribbean dream before settling down as solicitors after finishing their studies - a honeymoon on the island of Dominica. But what the man at the travel agency had described as paradise quickly turns out to be hell and the dream becomes a nightmare they both want to escape from as soon as possible. It all begins with a harmless visit the young couple pays to an old fortune teller in the busy harbour town of Marigot. What should have been a joke or a holiday diversion becomes deadly serious and turns out to be the beginning of a terrible series of events for the two when the fortune teller discovers a birthmark on her shoulder...
Autor: Margaret Margeaux
Illustration: istockphoto.com/Aleksey Trefilov, Christian Wheatley
ca. 112 Seiten
Mysterious events in an exotic location; without love scenes; with one dog.
The Caribbean, the island Dominica.
Main female character
Martha Voss, the heroine; has just married; supposed to be the reincarnation of a Voodoo goddess, because of her birthmark: two entwined hearts; chased and captured by Voodoo fanatics but saved by her husband Oliver
Main male character
Oliver Voss. He wants to spend his honeymoon with Martha in the Caribbean paradise; first he doesn't believe in magic; admires and takes care of Martha; saves his wife's life.
Chicago, the American Town the married couple lives in
Theodor Husemann, Professor, is a photographer on Dominica; helps the young couple to defeat the Voodoo sect.
Sybille, an old fortune teller; follower of the Sarango sect; discovers first Martha's birthmark; gets murdered.
Corrupt Police Chief
José Cascareda, the corrupt chief of police in Marigot.
Sergio Rodriguez, an unscrupulous arms dealer; coldheartedly abuses the faith of Sarango's disciples for his own purposes.
The main male character's brother
Anton, Oliver's brother; a notorious tippler whom Martha regards askance, only mentioned by name.
Alessandro, the high priest of the secret Sarango sect; more interested in money than in religion but needs to keep his face to the followers; chases Martha.
ExtractNo one would ever have described Martha Voss as a daydreaming romantic. Smart, pretty, determined, and charming: those were the attributes afforded to her. Among the student community she was considered cool bordering on arrogant. Perhaps bitchy if the situation demanded it in her opinion. If that was the case, she would enclose herself with smiling defiance, her blue eyes cold, and all of her enemies' arrows faltered against that defense.
But Martha Voss had an alter ego, an utterly different side to her, which few apart from Oliver would have expected, or even noticed, least of all herself. This aspect of her personality had only just now been discovered, with her arrival on the island, upon entering a world completely different from the one she had left behind.
She had finished law school, passed all her exams, and was anticipating a successful career. As far as she was concerned, lawyers were supposed to be matter-of-fact types, practical and smooth. This point of view had taken quite a battering since she had arrived.
Was it really only two days since she and Oliver had boarded an airplane in damp, cold, rainy Chicago? She still seemed to feel that strange sensation in her stomach of the plane lifting off in a cloud of spume. She could still picture the gray city on the Great Lakes slipping under a thick blanket of fog. And everything else stayed behind under that blanket as well. The stress of the exams which had kept her and Oliver breathlessly busy the last few weeks. The relief when they found themselves among the top five graduates. Then the exciting wedding, with the Best Man – Oliver's notorious brother Anton - stuck in traffic with the wedding rings. The involuntary dive her aunt had taken in her parents' pool, carrying a whole tray of champagne glasses. And when the first round of laughter had died down, the whole party had jumped in as well, even Martha in her wedding dress, complete with a twenty-foot-long train.
As far as jobs were concerned, she and Oliver were privileged to pick from a dozen large law firms, not counting internationals. They wanted to remain in Chicago. They had decided on Abercrombie Huntingdon Fitch Bowman and Partners. Twenty-three lawyers, soon to be twenty-five, focusing on corporate and tax law, a well-respected, long-established law firm, residing in a renovated building by the Main Stem of the Chicago River.
Both Huntingdon and Bowman had actually turned up at the wedding reception, although neither she nor Oliver had signed a contract yet. It was the merriest party Martha had ever attended, and she had been at quite a few. Later she was so tipsy that the wedding night was a total washout. It was really lucky that Huntingdon and Bowman had left before her intoxication began to show.
She wasn't such a drinker normally, but her approaching honeymoon trip laid heavily on her mind. Martha had never been in an airplane before. She had avoided it all her life, because she was mortally afraid of flying, and there was not one person among her friends and relations who didn’t know about her phobia.
Naturally, everybody thought it would be hilarious to harass her with the most macabre stories.
"Have you heard then, Martha? Another plane has crashed, over in Peru. Flew right into a mountain, all the passengers were killed." – "And remember that Jumbo Jet that overshot the runway and dived right into the ocean?"
Martha had felt like strangling them all, even though she knew it was just good-natured ribbing. She had only smiled painfully. After a sleepless night, she had boarded the plane with damp hands and wobbly knees. Her heart pounded wildly when she heard the hum of the engines, getting louder and louder, while the runway raced past beneath them and the white markings blurred into a single line.
"I think the worst is over," she said to Oliver.
He didn't answer, and she found to her surprise that her brand-new husband was already sound asleep.
But she had survived the flight. Now she was resting on a gorgeous tropical beach, like a character from a cheap novel, stretched out on the warm, almost powdery, white sand. A pleasant breeze caressed her face, carrying with it exotic scents she found hard to place. It was a strange mixture of tropical flowers and spices, blended with the salt air from the foaming sea. Her eyes wandered dreamily toward the open ocean, out to the coral banks, where the water seemed to become one with the horizon.
Martha lolled comfortably. The genius who had built this resorthad chosen the perfect place to straighten out the souls of tourists damaged by too much civilization. Seventeen small bungalows nestled along the beach, each one at a decent distance from the next, so that no inhabitant could get on his neighbors' nerves. The bungalows were of nearly identical construction, each built of white limestone with a raised foundation and surrounded by a wooden patio. Tiny windows let in very little of the daytime heat. The roofs were covered with palm leaves and glowed picturesquely in the evening sun. The tropical jungle came down within fifty paces of the ocean and twenty feet of the bungalows' back walls. The jungle was bordered by high, slightly tilted coco palms.
Martha sat up and squinted into the low sun. Something had caught her attention but seemed to have vanished. No, there it was. Dolphins, a whole school of them, playing exuberantly in the waves. Like arrows, they shot through the clear blue water, performing bold jumps and diving back in so elegantly that she could hardly see any splashes. Their chase took them further and further into the open sea, until the animals were nothing but silvery specks on the horizon.
She sank back into the warm sand. This was an experience which made up for facing her fear of flying. At least until she had to think about the flight back.
Dominica was Spanish for Sunday, the name fit the island perfectly well. Admittedly, Martha had been baffled when Oliver had suggested the Caribbean of all places for their honeymoon. She was a child of the North, after all, in love with cold winters, the green meadows of spring, rippling fields of crops in summer, and cool, shadowy forests.
And then this journey had eaten up all their savings, but Oliver had laughed it off. They would soon earn enough, he had said, and they would both have to work ten or twelve hours a day. They should enjoy life while they could. Who knew when they would ever have the opportunity again?
After some hesitation she had agreed, but secretly remained sceptical. She was inclined to put material assets ahead of spending money on experiences, probably due to her conservative upbringing. Clothes, furniture, cars: those were things with a tangible use, things you could hold and possess, and for much longer than four weeks.
But now that she was in the middle of this Caribbean paradise she had to admit that she found it intoxicating. The fauna and flora created so many diverse impressions that she found it hard to take them all in. Hummingbirds whirred around the calyxes of flowers, butterflies teetered from blossom to blossom. Above stretched the endless dome of the sky, tinted an almost surreal metallic blue, slowly fading into darkness. Soon it would be wearing a shimmering cloak, decorated with countless stars like a diamond-encrusted canopy.
Martha had felt a deep inner calm spread inside her immediately upon her arrival. This was due, to no little extent, to the few islanders she had met so far. Certainly, these people were never rich, at least by western standards, but they all radiated a carefree zest for life, a general cheerfulness that was simply infectious. They worked so they could live, not the other way around. They loved to celebrate, and they enjoyed each and every day with everything it would bring them.
Martha dug her toes into thesand and sighed wistfully. Within four weeks, she and Oliver would be back in Chicago. Paradise would be behind them and the rat race before them. Very well, they would make loads of money, bur would they belong to the class of the self-absorbed, doggedly rushing from appointment to appointment, never thinking of anything outside of their careers and their bank accounts?
Here and now, she refused to reflect about what the future would bring. Martha rose and admired the fantastic sunset which progressed all too quickly. Then she ran back to the house with light feet. At the moment there was only a retired American couple apart from her and Oliver staying at the resort. These two were in their seventies and were visiting from North Carolina, an area of the country Martha and Oliver knew little about, and they seemed to have nothing in common with them. They were staying at the far end, and the other bungalows stood empty.
She climbed the slightly creaky wooden steps to the patio, brushed aside the curtain designed to keep out the insects, and danced through the tiny hall into the kitchen, humming merrily. From the bathroom she could hear Oliver singing in the shower, not very melodiously, but rather loud – like his brother Anton. Martha took a bottle of orange juice from the refrigerator, poured a glass for herself, and carried it to the living room. That, too, could hardly be called spacious, but for a loving couple it was more than sufficient. And they had electricity, running water, and a telephone. Their cell phone reception was non-existent here, and Martha hadn’t bothered to charge her cell phone since they had arrived.
She switched on a lamp since it was quickly growing dark outside, slid into one of the three wicker chairs, placed her feet on another one, and reached out for the travel guide on the table.
"Are you already planning us a trip for tomorrow, sweetheart?" Oliver emerged from the bathroom, vigorously drying himself with a white bath towel. His brown hair stuck out in all directions. "Before we do anything else, we should take a trip into town. The stuff our landlord packed the fridge with isn’t doing my stomach much good."
"Come on, don't act so fussy," Martha told him. "You're in a different cultural environment and you should adjust your eating habits accordingly."
He grinned. "If you say so. But you'll have to gut the octopus from the bottom shelf."
Martha shuddered. "Is there really an octopus in the fridge?"
"Just a joke." Oliver bent down to her to kiss her. "Actually, we have iguana steaks and snake fillets. If you cook them on the grill, they're supposed to be really tasty." Instinctively he retreated a few paces, for Martha could be quite an impulsive woman. Oliver smiled. "With that way you wrinkle your nose accusingly, you look even more beautiful than usual," he said. "We could skip town and stay here. I don't think we’ll go hungry. But I can't guarantee you dessert."
Martha scrutinised her tall, handsome husband. "I think you could serve as dessert – or as an appetizer." She passed her tongue over her full lips. "If I get a choice, I'll have both."
"Both?" he murmured.
They stumbled to the bedroom and fell on the wide bed in a tight embrace. "Remember, I'm already twenty-eight," Oliver whispered, his eyes sparkling with humor. "That's the age when physical performance begins to decrease."
"Don't worry." Martha said, opening her bikini top. "Haven't we always managed everything so far?"
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|Main female character|
|The heroine's christian name is||176 x|
|The heroine's eye color is||1 x|
|The heroine's hair color is||5 x|
|Main male character|
|The hero's christian name is||219 x|
|The hero's surname is||10 x|
|The hero's eye color is||1 x|
|The hero's hair color is||2 x|
|The Professor's christian name is||19 x|
|The Professor's surname is||91 x|
|The fortuneteller's christian name is||20 x|
|Corrupt Police Chief|
|The corrupt police chief's christian name is||11 x|
|The gunrunner's christian name is||22 x|
|The main male character's brother|
|The christian name of the hero's brother is||2 x|
|The Voodoo Priest's christian name is||50 x|
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